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A Preview of What Intel is Showing at CES in January 2008--with a Green Twist

On Friday I went to a small gathering in New York ?at Frank Gehry’s IAC building — where Intel gave a sneak peek at what the company will be showing at CES in January. While Intel is saving big announcements for CES, of course, there were a couple of details about new initiatives at Intel that were notable.

One: an Intel marketing manager emphasized, and even in one breath, that “lifestyle PCs” and “green” products are two areas of growth. This made me wonder about the drive to keep offering consumers sexy new PCs each year, possibly driving obsolescence, which might seem at odds with the whole idea of eco-friendliness.

Yet Intel seems to really be walking the walk on these two matters. Chip-wise, the company will be rolling out a platform code-named “Menlow,” in Q2 or Q3 of 2008. It’s the first-generation of low-power platforms, which promises to run on 10 times less CPU power and is 5 times smaller than previous chips.

This means that it will allow designers to create sleeker PCs — desktops, laptops, and handhelds that are somewhere in between a laptop and a PDA — that will suck up less electricity. And of course produce less waste when these devices are discarded.

Speaking of waste, Intel’s reps also said that the company is dropping all use of lead — a toxic substance, which is not only dangerous to people but also the planet when it winds up in garbage dumps — in 2008. Lead will be replaced by a more eco-friendly tin/silver/copper alloy.

And Intel is also working on greening its manufacturing processes, such as recycling water in its plants.

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